An Animal a Week

Flashback! Mountain Lions

This week I am posting an oldie but goldie post from my old blog! Hope you guys enjoy it and have a great weekend!

Mountain lions, (also called cougar, puma, mountain cat, catamount or panther) do not live around the area that I live in, and I have never payed much thought to them. When I heard that a mountain lion and her cub had been sighted very, very close to where a relative of mine lives, it sparked my interest. I was intrigued, and inspired to learn more about them.

I started to think about how weird it would be to have fierce mountain lions living almost in your back yard. The fiercest animals that I have living in my woods are my coyotes. And they are far smaller than a mountain lion. My cousin was quite surprised when she she found out that there were mountain lions so close to where she lives. She lives in a city that is close to San Fransisco.

Mountain lions do not only live in California, their range goes from the Yukon Territory, down through the western part of the USA, through central America and ends in the Andes mountains of South America.

The main food of mountain lions is deer. Although they prefer deer, they will also eat other small animals, rodents, elk, porcupines, and almost any other kind of meat that they can catch. They have been known to steal sheep, cattle, unattended dogs and cats from peoples houses.

Most people think that mountain lions are fierce, awful animals that would eat you as soon as look at you, but that is not true. Attacks on

humans are extremely rare. Mountain lions tend to stay out of the way of humans, it is not their instinct to hunt them. If a human encounters a mountain lion, and starts to run away from it, it might attack. It is their instinct to chase and kill things that run from them. But, if a human encounters a mountain lion, and starts waving its arms and making loud noises, the mountain lion will likely run away.

Mountain lions are fairly big, measuring between five and nine feet from tail to nose. Males tend to be slightly bigger than the females.  Most mountain lions are tawny colored, but the color can range from reddish, to more of a silver color. They can not roar, instead they make noises that you would commonly hear coming from your house cat. They can hiss, purr, growl, and even scream, but not roar, as many other large cats do. In fact, mountain lions are not even classified as large cats, they are classified with all of the small cats.

Mountain lions are classified in the sub family Felinae. The sub family Felinae is mostly made up of small cats such as the lynx, ocelot, domestic cat, fishing cat and other small species of cats. The mountain lion is the biggest of their sub family.

I hope that I have taught you a lot about mountain lions including what they eat, what to do when you encounter one, and what they look like. Now, if you ever encounter one, you will know a little bit about them!



River Otters

I LOVE otters. They are one of my very favorite animals. We go to Florida every year and not once have we ever seen an otter, until this year. There is a boardwalk that goes from the condo we stay at,through a little mangrove swamp, and down to the beach. In the little mangrove swap there are a couple of alligators that live in there, some fish, turtles, many birds, but never had we seen otters. Which was why I was so excited to see them! There is a low spot on the boardwalk that is almost touching the ground. Right under this spot, there were three otters sticking their heads around the boardwalk so they could look at us! It was adorable and luckily I had my camera so I could snap a few photos.

River otters

When you think of otters, what do you think of? Do you think of the cute cuddly animals with big faces that float on their backs in the ocean? Or do you think of the sleek, quick, animals that slide down riverbanks? Well, whichever one that you are thinking of, you are still thinking of an otter. There are 13 different species of otters living in the world and some look quite different from the others. The otters that I saw in Florida

Sea otter

were North American river otters. If you were to travel out to California, you would be able to see some Sea Otters.

North American river otters live only in North America. They live in burrows near the waters edge, or in rivers or swamps. The only things that North American river otters really need to survive is access to water and a steady food supply. Elevation and temperature do not bother the otters one bit.They live in a den made by other animals such as a woodchuck, fox, or muskrat. The otters will also live in rock caves, hollow logs, or riverbanks. The den is like a nest, lined with leaves, bark or grass.

River otters eat about 15%- 20% of their body weight each day. They eat mostly fish, frogs, crabs, and crayfish. In certain situations they will also eat rodents or birds. Sea otters (the ones from California) dive for their food (clams and muscles and such) and then bring it to the surface where they float on their back while they eat it. However, river otters have a different strategy. The river otters stay under water and hunt for their food. They can stay underwater for up to four minutes and swim at speeds of about 7 mph. They race after their fish or crabs and grab them with their teeth. They drag the small fish to the surface where they eat them, but they drag the bigger fish to the shore where they then

eat them.

River otters can move just as well on land as they can in the water. They can  run, bound, or slide on land, and are excellent at swimming and diving in the water. In the winter the otters use sliding as a convenient method of transportation. It is very fast and requires very little energy.

I absolutely LOVE otters, it was so amazing being able to see some! I hope that you enjoyed this!

One of the river otters that we saw


Florida pics!

I just got back from Florida yesterday! It was a GREAT trip and we saw so much wildlife! I have many more animals to tell you all about but for now I will post some of my favorite pictures! Enjoy.😀


Sea Cucumber

An otter

An Osprey

More otters!


And I have lots more pictures for future posts!




I’m Off!

Well everyone, I am off to Florida tomorrow! I will be back in 10 days with lots of new Florida animals to tell you all about! I will make sure to post some pictures while I am down there.🙂 Take care everyone!


American White Pelican

As I have mentioned before, my town is located right on the Illinois River. The Illinois River is not a very nice place. The water is brown and there are many, many, many too many Asian Carp living in it. But at one point of the year, there something that is worth seeing happens on the

river. And that is the migration of the American White Pelican. Around this time of the year, you can drive down to the river and see huge flocks of American White Pelicans sitting on the water or flying above you. I became curious about where these pelicans came from and where they were going, so I did a little research and this is what I found out.

American White Pelicans nest in the northern states and into Canada throughout the summer. American White Pelicans sometimes nest in colonies. The advantages of nesting in a colony is that the more birds there are nesting there, the less likely it is for a predator to try to attack the nest. The nest is simply a shallow depression in the ground that the parents have made. The nest is in plain sight of any predators, but with so many other birds in the colony, a predator would have no chance.

The female pelican will lay between 1 and 6 eggs, usually 2 or 3. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs for about a month. The pelicans do not have a brood patch. A brood patch is a featherless spot on the parent birds stomach that keeps the chicks warm. Because American White Pelicans do not have a brood patch, they have to use their feet to keep the eggs warm.

After a month, the eggs hatch. The chicks are born without feathers but they have a full coat of soft down feathers by the time they are about 10 days old. The parents feed them by regurgitating their food. Most of the time, there is not enough food for both chicks and only the stronger

A baby white pelican

chick will receive food. In most cases, only one chick will reach full adulthood.

As the chicks begin to mature, they form groups, called creches, within the colony. When the chicks reach 10 weeks old, they start to fledge. Their start their migration just a week after they learn to fly.

The pelicans start their migration in the early fall. They fly all the way through the USA down to their wintering grounds in Southern California, Florida, and Mexico. The pelicans spend much of their time in their wintering grounds feeding.

One of the main differences between the Brown Pelican and the American White Pelican is their feeding techniques. Although both  species have fish as their main food source, they have quite different ways of catching them. The Brown Pelicans dive for their fish, while the American White Pelican catches theirs while they are swimming. Many times a group of pelicans will get together to form a horseshoe, corralling the fish into a small area. Once they get the fish, they dunk their head underwater and scooping the fish up in their bill. They then squeeze their pouch, pushing the water out, and swallow the fish.

When the winter is over and the spring rolls around again, the pelicans start their migration back up to the northern states and Canada.It is really amazing to see part of this migration!

What is your favorite kind of bird?

Do you ever see birds migrating through your city?


Koko the Gorilla

Koko, short for Hanabi-Ko, was born on the Fourth of July at the San Fransisco Zoo. Koko was very sick when she was born. She was so sick that

Baby Koko

even her mother could not care for her. She had to be taken from her mother, and helped by the San Fransisco Medical Team. Around the same time that Koko was born, Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson had attended a lecture about Washoe, a chimpanzee that was learning to talk using American Sign Language. Penny though that maybe she could do this same thing with Koko.

Penny visited Koko everyday so that Koko could become comfortable around her. As Koko got better, Penny began to teach her simple signs. When Penny gave her food, she would show Koko the sign for food, she did the same for water. Penny would do this every time she gave Koko food or water and eventually Koko started to associate the sign for food with food, and the sign for water with water. One day Koko gave Penny the sign for food, asking for food! It was a great accomplishment.

When Koko was three years old Penny was granted with permission to bring to the Stanford University campus. Penny wanted to expand Kokos vocabulary and she could not fully concentrate on that at the zoo. Koko did not like living on the campus at first but she soon began to enjoy it. She learned more and more signs, by the time she was five, she knew how to sign more then 200 words!

Koko and Penny

Koko and Penny worked together everyday. Penny invented games and fun ways that Koko could learn more signs. By this time, whenever Koko wanted food, she could give Penny the sign and Penny would know just what she wanted.

The progress with Koko was going very smoothly. Soon Penny began wondering things. Koko could communicate with her through sign language, but what about with other gorillas? As an experiment, Koko got a brother, a three and a half old gorilla named Michael. The two gorillas played together and they learned together. Penny taught Michael some basic signs too, and remarkably, the two gorillas would talk to each other using sign language. The exact outcome Penny was hoping for!

Koko learned rapidly, she soon knew how to put words together into sentences, answer questions, and ask questions.

One of the best known stories about Koko is the story about her and her cat. One day before one of Kokos birthdays, she was asked what she would like for her birthday. She replied, “cat”. Penny, thinking that Koko wanted a toy cat to play with, ordered Koko a durable cat toy. When Koko unwrapped it, she hated it. She signed, “red” her way of expressing anger. Penny realized that Koko wanted a real kitten.

After lots of searching, Penny found a litter of kittens that had been orphaned after their mother died. Penny showed Koko the kittens and Koko loved them. “Love that,” Koko signed when she saw the kittens. Penny asked Koko which kitten she wanted, Koko picked a smoky grey tabby

Koko and All Ball

with no tail. She named her kitten All Ball. Penny brought All Ball to see Koko every night. All Ball was a very aggressive cat. He scratched and bit, but Koko did not care. She carried her kitten around on her back and on her thigh, just as a mother gorilla would do.

Koko loved All Ball. They played together and Koko never tried to harm her kitten. As many times as he scratched and bit her, she stayed patient and still loved him. But one awful night, All Ball got out, was run over by a ca, and died. Penny told Koko the awful news and Koko did not move or show any emotion. But, when Penny left Koko for the night, she could hear distress cry from Kokos trailer. Koko missed her kitten. Whenever Penny talked to Koko about All Ball, Koko would reply with words such as, “cry, frown, sad,”. Koko eventually got another cat to replace All Ball.

When Koko reached the mature age of a gorilla (8-10 years) she began to want a baby. Whenever she saw a gorilla baby

Koko video dating

on TV, she would point and sign, “want that”. Penny thought it would be very interesting for Koko to have a baby. Would she teach her baby to sign? So Penny started searching for other male gorillas. Koko could not travel around meeting other gorillas, so she did “video dating”. Penny would show Koko video tapes of different male gorillas. If Koko liked a gorilla, she would kiss the TV screen. If she did not like the gorilla, she would turn the TV off. There was one special gorilla named Ndume that Koko was fond of. After a while, Ndume came to live with Koko. The two gorillas enjoyed each others company, but they never had a baby. They think that one of the reasons may be the unnatural atmosphere. In the wild, there is usually many females in a group that can help raise the baby gorilla. In Kokos life, she was living with Michael and Ndume for a while, two males, which is the exact opposite.

Now days, Koko is doing just fine. She is 41 years old. Most gorillas live into their 40s and 50s, females usually outliving the males. Koko now lives at the Gorilla Foundation, a non profit corporation dedicated to protection of gorillas through interspecies communication research and education. The Gorilla Foundation is working hard to construct the Maui Ape Preserve.  A protected place where Koko and other gorillas can live in their natural environment. The construction is underway, but they are in desperate need of money and every cent counts! If you would like to donate to help Koko, you can do so here.

This is a truly remarkable story that I could go on forever about! If you would like to learn more about Koko and Penny there are many websites and books that have lots of interesting information. If you would like to learn more about Koko, you can do so here.


Rabbits and the Easter Bunny

First off,  happy  Easter everyone!!! I hope you guys all have a great Easter! In honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought that I would write a little about how the rabbit became the symbol of Easter.

The rabbit seems like it would be a very strange choice. A rabbit that laid colorful eggs and brought them to the houses of children. Seems a little strange doesn’t it? And there is certainly no mention of this in the Bible. Well, the Easter Bunny actually has nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus. The Easter Bunny actually comes from a different religion. That religion being Paganism.  The Pagan goddess Ostara was the goddess of spring and fertility. The rabbit was her symbol, one of the reasons being because of their high reproduction rate.  Spring is the time of birth and growth. Eggs are a symbol of fertility which may have been where the story of the egg laying rabbit came from.

Now for a little bit about rabbits. There are many different kinds of rabbits but the ones that I will focus on are Eastern Cottontail rabbits. Eastern Cottontail rabbits are the most abundant and they are the species that lives in my woods. Eastern Cottontail rabbits are very abundant, maybe even too abundant. The females can lie between one and seven litters or between one and twelve kits a year. That is a lot of rabbits!!! Rabbits are also very low on the food chain, which means that they are one of the most preyed upon animals. This keeps the rabbit population down to a reasonable number. If all of the rabbits that were born lived long life’s can you imagine how many rabbits there would be!

There are lots of rabbits that live in and around my woods. Once I even stumbled upon a litter of rabbit kits. I was weeding my small vegetable garden when I pulled up a handful of grass and revealed a litter of rabbit kits! They were laying in a hole dug under the ground that was lined

This was about the size of the kits I found.

with rabbit fur. I covered them back up and went back to the house to watch where I left them. We watched through the window and every morning and evening we would see the mother rabbit come back and burrow under the ground to them.

I later learned that in order to not draw attention to the nest, the mother only visits the nest at dawn and dusk to nurse the kits. The rest of the time the kits just sleep.

The kits are born blind and with just a bit of fur on them. They have a nice hiding spot underground where most animals cannot find them, but they still have to develop fairly quickly. Within about five days the kits eyes are opened and by four to five weeks old they are independent and they leave the nest at seven weeks.

Have a great Easter everyone!!!

Sorry for the shortened post today. It got deleted TWICE and I had to rewrite it three times before I could post it.


Bald Eagles

I have been glued to my computer over the last few days. The reason? It is because of this amazing yet addicting site:  Some of you may have been to this site before, the Raptor Research Project (RRP) has placed a camera above a Bald Eagle nest in Dechora, Iowa, and the camera streams video to the internet 24/7. Now watching an eagle sitting on three eggs can get a little boring

sometimes. But lately those three eggs have been hatching! I have not been able to pry myself away from computer, it is so exciting! I was lucky enough to watch two of the three eggs hatch!

The town I live in is right on the edge of the Illinois River, there are a few Bald Eagle nests around my area, and periodically you might see a bald Eagle flying overhead. After watching this camera for a few days I wanted to learn more about these eagles that I never knew much about.

Bald Eagles were once very endangered. In the mid 20th century the number of eagles was rapidly decreasing. One of the main contributing factors was the pesticide DDT. DDT is a pesticide that is meant to kill harmful insects that might hurt farmer’s crops. The farmers would spray the DDT on their plants to keep the insects away, but this was harmful to other animals. As an example, the mice that lived in the field would eat the plants that had DDT on them, the mice would get DDT into their system, then the eagles would eat the mice and the eagles would get DDT! Another way the eagles got the pesticide was from runoff into the lakes and rivers, where the fish would pick it up, then the eagles ate the fish.

DDT was not deadly to the eagles, but the pesticide was very dangerous to the calcium levels in their body. This was a major problem when it came time for the female eagle to lay her eggs. The eggshells were very weak because they did not have enough calcium in them. When the mother would try to sit on them, the weak eggshells would break. Because the female eagles could not reproduce, the number of eagles started to drop, and eventually the eagles became endangered.

Another reason why the eagles numbers were decreasing was because of shooting. Eagles sometime like to eat chickens or lambs. The farmers did not like having their chickens and lambs picked off, so they shot the eagles. But people were starting to notice this decrease. The Bald Eagle is United States national symbol.  How would people feel if their national symbol was extinct?

One person that was taking action was Rachel Carson. Rachel Carson was a Marine Biologist that wrote many books on her studies. In the 1950s Carson started focusing more on conservation, mainly on the dangerous pesticides that people were using and their effects on birds. She came out with the book Silent Springs which was about the dangers of pesticides. The book was read by many of people and eventually the use of DDT was banned in Canada, and highly restricted in the United States.

Along with the DDT ban, it also became illegal to hunt the eagles. Because of the DDT ban and the new protection for the eagles, their numbers began to increase again. In 1995 the eagles were officially moved off of the endangered species list, and are now reclassified as threatened species.


The Bald Eagles nest is the largest nest of any bird in North America. Every year the eagles come back to the same nest and keep adding more and more branches and twigs to it. The only time the eagles will abandon this nest is if there is a disturbance near the nest or the nest has become too big and falls out of the tree. Otherwise, they continue to come back to this nest year after year.

The female lOne day olday between 1 and 3 eggs, most commonly two. The mother and father eagles take turns sitting on the eggs each day. While one parent is sitting on the nest, the other will be hunting, gathering nesting materials, or perching on a nearby branch. The eggs incubate for about 35 days before they start to pip. The pip is the first hole in the egg that the eaglet makes. The eaglets have a little egg tooth on the end of their beak that helps with the hatching. The egg tooth then falls off soon after the hatch. After the first pip in the shell, it takes about  12-24 hours for the egg to completely hatch. While the egg is pipping, the father will bring food to the nest so they can be ready for the first feeding.

After the egg is completely hatched, the chick will get its first meal within 24 hours. The parent will gently tear off pieces of meat and feed them to the chick.

The chicks are born with fluffy white down feathers to keep warm. At three or four weeks the eaglets will grow another down coat and about two weeks later will be replaced by black juvenile feathers. The chicks will start to fledge about 10-13 weeks after hatching.

After the chicks successfully fledge, they stick around the nest for 2 to 3 more weeks. The parents still provide all of their food. The chicks

Two chicks and an egg

learn to recognize food in the nest and when the fledge they watch their parents hunt. The rest of the process is just trial and error. They keep trying until they get the hang of hunting.  After about 20 weeks the chicks leave their parents for good.


If you check out the Dechora Eagle cam, two of the eggs have watched and one is pipping! The egg is expected to hatch any time after 6:00 tonight. If you watch you might be able to see it hatch!


Whooping Cranes

I am a huge animal lover. I love all animals, but one of my favorites is the Whooping Crane. These cranes are extremely endangered and they will soon be extinct if no one does anything to help them. But fortunately, someone is doing something to help them. Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about their history.

About 71 years ago, Whooping Cranes were critically endangered. In fact these birds where so endangered that you could count all of the  Whooping cranes in the world on you fingers and toes. There were only 15 left in the whole world. Some of the main reasons that they were

disappearing so rapidly was because of hunting. Whooping Cranes are five feet tall (they are the largest flying bird of North America) and they have beautiful, long, white feathers. At this time, wearing feathers in hats was one of the latest fashions. The cranes were heavily hunted for this reason.

Another reason why they were disappearing was because the number of people in American was expanding. Whooping Cranes live in wetlands and all of the wetlands were being drained so there was more room to build fields to grow food for the expanding population of people.

Another species of crane is the Sandhill Crane. Sandhill Cranes were also faced with this problem, although maybe not so severely. Sandhill cranes also lived in wetlands, but they were very good at adapting to other environments. This is something that Whooping cranes are not good at. The Sandhills started to live in grasslands and cornfields. Sandhills are now the most abundant species of crane.

Whooping Cranes are not good at adapting to different environments, so they were (and still are) in a lot of trouble. People started realizing this and decided there was something they needed to do about it.

There were many different experiments to see if they could bring these birds back. People would capture the eggs and put them in Sandhill Crane nests to see if the Sandhill Cranes would raise the chicks as their own. There were some problems with this experiment. The Whooping Cranes would imprint on the Sandhill Cranes and they would start to think that they were Sandhill Cranes. They would then mate with them producing half Whooping Crane and half Sandhill Crane.

While this was happening there was a man named William (Bill) Lishman. He started experimenting with Canada Geese. He would hatch the eggs and the first thing that the chicks would see would be him. The geese would them imprint on the Bill, or in other words, think that Bill was

their parent. Bill raised the chicks, and when it came time for them to migrate, Bill would do something extraordinary. He had built an ultralight that resembled a goose, and he would lead the flock of geese to their wintering grounds with this ultralight. When the cold weather would pass, the flock of geese would return to the place they were raised with no help from anyone. Once they had learned the migration path once from the ultralight, they never forgot it and they would migrate year after year by themselves.

This was an incredible experiment and it was very successful. Other people got involved in it and they started brainstorming. If they could do this with Canada Geese, then why couldn’t they try it with other birds such as the endangered Trumpeter Swan, or the Whopping Crane?

They did not want to jump right into this project with these highly endangered birds for fear of losing any of them. In 2000 they decided to try this experiment with a more common species of crane, the Sandhill Crane. They lead 11 Sandhill Cranes all the way from Wisconsin to Florida. The cranes over wintered in Florida and when spring came around, the cranes did just what everyone was hoping they would do. They migrated back up to Wisconsin to the place that they were raised all on there own! They had the migration path memorized and the Sandhill Cranes continued to migrate on this same path year after year with no help from the ultralights!

Because this experiment was so successful with the Sandhill Cranes, the pilots decided it was time to try it with Whooping Cranes.

In 2001 they decided to start this long and dangerous journey of trying to reintroduce Whooping Cranes into the wild. To start this project, they first needed the cranes. The chicks hatch at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Patuxent, Maryland. The eggs are taken from captive bred Whooping Cranes and are then hatched in an incubator. 11 eggs were hatched in the first year of the migration at in Patuxent. As soon as the chicks are born they are taken care of by people in all white costumes with a puppet that looks just like a crane head on one arm. The crane

puppet has a trigger in it that can open the beak and drop little bits of food for the chicks. The costumes are supposed to resemble Whooping Cranes. This way the chicks will imprint on the costumes and think that they are cranes and not people. If the chicks saw  humans all of their life

The crane and crane costume.

they would think they were humans. If the human imprinted cranes were ever released into the wild what would happen to them? They would not be scared of people and this could lead to very easy picking for hunters.

It is very important that the chicks are never exposed to humans. This means that the people in the costumes cannot talk, laugh, sneeze, or anything else that humans would do. Instead, they have to flap their arms, and play recordings of grown cranes to the chicks. The chicks can have no knowledge that they are surrounded by people.

When the cranes are still very young, they are put in crates and flown to the Necedah wildlife refuge in Necedah, Wisconsin. This is where they will learn to follow the ultralight, learn to fly and that is where they will leave on their way for migration. This is the place that the cranes will come back to every spring.

As the cranes get bigger, they start to be trained to follow an ultralight. Someone with a costume drives the ultralight around and plays recording of adult cranes to try to get the chicks to follow them. When the chicks start to fly, they follow the ultralight around in small loops around the training facility. When they leave for migration they might need to fly as many as 100 miles a day.

Migration time usually comes around October. The migration is probably the hardest part of raising the cranes. First of all the crane handlers have to trace out the migration route. Next, they have to find places for the cranes to stop and rest throughout their route. These places are called stopovers. If the weather does not cooperate the crew and cranes can be stuck at a stopover for days or even weeks. So as you can imagine, these

Following the ultralight

stopovers are very important. The stopovers have to A) be far away from people, cars, roads, anything that involves people. B) Have room for the campers that the crew has to stay in. and C) have a grass stretch that the ultralight and take off from. To find these places the crane handlers have to drive down the migration path and literally go knocking door to door to see if they can stay on peoples land. Luckily they have found people all the way down the migration path that let the cranes stay on their land year after year.

The length of the migration depends almost entirely on the weather. They have to have absolutely perfect weather to fly. No fog, rain, wind and it can’t be too hot. If the weather is any of these things, they have to stay at the stopover for another day.

Along with the pilots and ultralights in the air, they also have a ground crew. All of the cranes have radio transmitters on their legs so that the crew can follow them if the crane strays away from the flock. This is the ground crews job. They follow along on the ground with their trackers for any cranes that stray away. If this does happen and the crane just refuses to fly with the rest of the flock, then the ground crew can put the crane in a crate and drive it to the next stopover to meet up with the rest of their flock.

The cranes migrate from Necedah down to Chassahowitza in Florida. The migration time depends almost entirely on the weather. Some migrations can go very smoothly and others, not so much. This past year the cranes were not able to finish the migration (I will talk more about the present migration in a future post.)

The pen they stay in at night in Florida

When the cranes get down to Chassahowitza  the cranes are introduced to their wintering grounds. They stay on an island five miles offshore, in a closed to the public refuge. There is a 4 acre predator proof pen that the cranes are free to come and go from. At night the cranes are moved into a top netted pen. This pen is alligator safe and bobcat safe.

They have a monitoring team that checks them twice a day. They refill the food and water, make sure the cranes are healthy, check for predators

nearby and many other things. This monitoring team puts the cranes in the pen at night. They are always dressed in their crane costume.

In the spring, when the cranes internal alarm clocks go off, they start their journey back north. They no longer need the ultralights leading them because they learned the route on the way down. Just from one migration down, the cranes will remember the migration path for the rest of their life’s.

There is so much more to this remarkable story that I could not fit into just one blog post. If you want more information, then you can visit these sites:

This post is written mainly about past migrations. Many things have changed over the years. These including a new wintering spot in Florida, a new migration path, an un-ended migration, and an awful tragedy in 2006. In the future I will write up a post about all of these things, but if you would like information sooner, please visit the website links.



Welcome to my new blog, An Animal a Week!!!

With this new blog, I will be posting an informative article every Friday about a different animal. If anyone has any suggestions of animals they would like me to write about, you can email me at

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for my first posting coming this Friday!